Westchester County, Greenburgh Agree To Senior Project at WestHELP Site
Real Estate In-Depth | May 2018
GREENBURGH—After reaching an agreement with the Town of Greenburgh, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced on May 8th plans for the development of 74 units of affordable senior rental housing at the long vacant and controversial WestHELP site.
The WestHELP site, a six-acre parcel located off Knollwood Road adjacent to the campus of Westchester Community College, has been subject to years of political wrangling and discussions between the county, the Town of Greenburgh, Valhalla School District and community stakeholders. Discussions revolved around the need for safe, affordable housing while also ensuring that the school district the project resides in did not fall victim to overcrowding.
The lease submitted last October was for only 54 units, the Latimer Administration reached an agreement with the Town of Greenburgh, the surrounding neighborhood and School District for an expanded 74-unit development.
Latimer said, “We have to get away from the era of the individual politician who is the leader that ‘has’ all the vision—the vision is we. It’s when we discuss, and collegially work through things, that we are finding the best way to make decisions. Issues with the WestHELP site were resolved because we were able to work across lines and not try to be secretive. There was a combination of things that made this happen, and if we’re going to do anything good it has to come out of that combination.”
Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner said of the agreement, “Members of the Greenburgh Town Board and I are very excited about the plans to build affordable senior citizen housing at the former WestHELP homeless shelter. There is a need for senior housing, and this initiative will provide an enhanced quality of life to many senior citizens. I also want to thank the County Executive for the way his administration handled this proposal. The County Executive practiced what he promised – the County was a good neighbor. The County Executive encouraged the town and the developer to reach out to the community and School District—which we did. We explained what was being proposed and the community agreed to support the senior housing. This is exactly what needs to be done.”
Valhalla School Board Member Laverne Clark said, “This has been a long time coming—and I am glad it is finally happening now. Valhalla is a very small School District and any impact to it would be difficult for taxpayers to absorb.”
The plans call for the developer, Marathon Development Group, to pay $1.5 million ($900,000 to Westchester County and $600,000 to the Town of Greenburgh) in exchange for the town relinquishing all rights to site. The new development will serve a wide mix of income levels, including 40% to 60% of Area Median Income as well as 80% to 90% of Area Median Income.